Taxpayer Rip-Off of the Week: $300,000 for Anaheim Resort Transit

With more than a foot of snow last week, many New Englanders will be escaping for warmer climates during winter’s final weeks.  If you’re heading for California’s Disneyland, make sure to enjoy the state-of-the-art Anaheim Resort Transit system, funded by, well, your very own tax dollars.  

That’s right.  Last year Rep.Loretta Sanchez (D.-Calif.) secured $300,000 from the Transportation Appropriations Bill (HR 4818) for Anaheim Resort Transit (ART).  Debuting in 2002, ART uses 37 clean-fuel vehicles to service the Anaheim Resort District, transporting visitors from the various hotels to Disneyland and surrounding attractions.  According to ART’s website, the “fleet’s dynamic resort-themed appearance along with its specially trained uniformed drivers heighten the resort district’s branding and make it easy for guests to identify the ART product.”

Federal money for such an extravagance is appalling enough, but as a repeat offense it is doubly insulting.  The year before, Representative Sanchez secured $500,000 for the same transit system, winning the “Goofy Earmark Award” from Citizens Against Government Waste.  When Americans throughout country hear about things like this, they are outraged, and rightly so.  

This is why I have endorsed the Pork-Barrel Reduction Act just recently introduced in the U.S. Senate by a bipartisan group of senators.  The bill allows congressmen to object to specific earmarks without striking the entire bill.  The act also requires full disclosure of the identity of the lawmaker seeking the earmark so that politicians can be held accountable to the taxpayers themselves.  I have also encouraged my opponent, Sen. Lincoln Chafee, to support the bill, but so far, we have heard nothing from the Chafee camp.

Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on the Anaheim Resort Transit (Senate Roll Call Vote #215) on Nov. 20, 2004.